Your Safety & Wellbeing

13 May, 2021

 

We look back at the open-air series that brought live performances back to our city.

It was summer 2021 when the Sidney Myer Music Bowl threw open its gates to audiences once more. After almost 12 months of dark stages and music halls, the whooping of crowds, the stomping of feet and the thunder of applause rang out in Melbourne. Live at the Bowl was born.

Over four incredible months, Live at the Bowl presented a festival of open-air shows from the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Across the series we welcomed almost 100,000 festival-goers to experience 70 live performances. From symphonies under the stars to daytime dance parties, comedy extravaganzas, beloved bands, free events and family friendly concerts – there was something for everyone to enjoy.

 

With government support for Live at the Bowl, we could not have imagined how successful it would become. It has been our great privilege to transform one of Victoria’s most-loved outdoor venues into a symbol of joy and recovery.

Claire Spencer AM, CEO Arts Centre Melbourne

 

 

As the largest outdoor amphitheatre in Australia, the iconic venue was an obvious choice to be transformed into a COVIDSafe space. The rolling hills of the Bowl were fitted out with socially distant seating, where every audience member had the best seat in the house. Private decks allowed punters to dance the night away safely – while enjoying some of Victoria’s best food trucks and local brews. Highlights of the season included Hannah Gadsby, Archie Roach, Lime Cordiale, The Avalanches, Missy Higgins, Spiderbait, MaRLo, The Cat Empire, Vika & Linda and so many more.

 

It’s an amazing feeling to have that many people together yelling, screaming, and carrying on. Well done to everyone that made this happen and kept things safer than any sporting match!

Lime Cordiale

 

Missy Higgins

 

Missy Higgins
Photograph by Mark Gambino

 

With a spotlight on local artists, 1,357 performers took to the stage across the season – over half of which had never performed at the Bowl before. The grounding ethos of the season was partnership, leading to alliances between several different styles of performance. A number of orchestral collaborations were showcased, including Birds of Tokyo with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, No Friend but the Mountains based on the award-winning book by Behrouz Boochani, and Vault Sessions feat. Mo'Ju with Orchestra Victoria.

 

It’s taken me a week to post about this because it’s so huge I haven’t really been able to get my head round it. So grateful to step back into performing live after 2020, and to do it in such style.

Mo'Ju

 

Vault Sessions: Mo’Ju with Orchestra Victoria

 

Vault Sessions: Mo’Ju with Orchestra Victoria
Photo by James Henry

 

Monday nights at the Bowl fast became the best night of the week as small bands took to the main stage for Happy Mondays. The four part series, in partnership with Melbourne Music Week–Extended, channeled the spirit of a pub residency with beloved Melbourne music venues curating each show.

 

It’s pretty awesome that a small venue like ours can do something on the big stage.

Benny Rausa, the owner and director of Colour Club

 

Happy Mondays Series featuring Closer Counters & The Murlocs

 

Happy Mondays Series featuring Closer Counters & The Murlocs
Photo by Mark Gambino

 

Melbourne Music Week-Extended also supported an events team of underage tastemakers to stage an epic all-ages event featuring Skegss and Ruby Fields. The sold-out concert was developed as part of Arts Centre Melbourne’s New Slang program – in partnership with Australian youth music organisation The Push – where young people have the opportunity to gain practical experience in staging live music events.

There was also 10 free events across the festival which celebrated communities across Melbourne, all of which sold out. These included Share the Spirit: a First Nations led day of live music, art and culture, a series of symphonic masterpieces from the likes of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Youth Orchestra as well as City Sessions, which highlighted Melbourne’s vibrant street dance culture.

 

The street dance community has been on such a high and has not stopped talking about what went down on Saturday – definitely the highlight of the year.

City Sessions producer Efren Pamilacan

 

City Sessions

 

City Sessions
Photograph by Tiffany Garvie

 

Ziggy Ramo performs at BLAKTIVISM

 

Ziggy Ramo performs at 'BLAKTIVISM'
Photograph by Tiffany Garvie

 

The series also saw Australia’s proud First Nations and Pacific Islander communities take over the Bowl across two epic showcases. BLAKTIVISM and PASIFIX featured some of the biggest names in the music scene including Yothu Yindi, Ziggy Ramo, Emma Donovan, Ngaiire and STNDRD.

 

Can’t even describe the feeling of stepping onto the stage for the first time at PASIFIX with my uso’s this past weekend.

Yannis from STNDRD

 

PASIFIX

 

PASIFIX
Photo by Mark Gambino

 

Midsumma Festival closed this unforgettable season in a shower of glitter, drag queens and show-stopping ballads. Over the final weekend audiences rejoiced in a colourful program of queer entertainment celebrating inclusion and community. It was a fitting end to a season of events that brought our city together.

Thanks for the good times Victoria.

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